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Colts and Rangers set for showdown

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Photograph by Akil SimmonsFlicks and tricks: Treshun Smith, of Colts, attempts to control the ball as he is surrounded by PHC players

Devonshire Colts 2

PHC Zebras 1

Ellington Weldon Jr struck a last-minute winner at Goose Gosling Field yesterday as Devonshire Colts clinched a place in the New Year’s Day Player Development League Festive Tournament final at the National Sports Centre.

Wearing his father’s favourite Colts No 17 jersey, Weldon produced a finish that would have made his dad proud when he ran onto a cross just inside the box by Eli Smith and side-footed first time into the near top corner to settle the match for Colts, who will have a second team in Thursday’s finals after their First Division side advanced to the Shield final for the second straight year.

Smith opened the scoring for Colts in the 32nd minute after PHC had two good chances to break the deadlock midway through the half. First, Tristan Hall’s shot from inside the box was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Chejon Berkeley. Moments later winger Isiah Taylor forced a point-blank save from Berkeley.

Just before the break Colts went close to doubling their lead when Kian Butterfield’s shot on the turn from the right edge of the box grazed the top of the far post. Substitute Kamau Leverock brought some extra spark to the Zebras attack in the second half when he blasted just over the bar from 22 yards. The PHC equaliser finally came in the 77th minute when a free kick by Idrees Sharrieff on the right side of the box was parried by Berkeley and Ryan Hassell followed up to tuck in the rebound from close range.

Just when both teams were preparing for extra time, Weldon popped up to score a dramatic late goal to secure the win for Colts.

North Village 1

Southampton Rangers 2

Southampton Rangers will provide the opposition for Devonshire Colts in the Player Development League Festive Tournament final after beating North Village Rams yesterday at Goose Gosling Field.

Both teams fielded a number of first-team players and the match resembled a Premier Division encounter as the crowd was treated to some exciting football. Rangers took the lead in the 25th minute when Jesse Seymour provided the perfect cross along the goal line for Shannon Burchall to finish with a simple tap-in.

Burchall should have made it 2-0 moments later when he was given space inside the box but he lifted his shot over the crossbar.

Rangers were creating all the chances in the first half and had another late in the half when a quick break allowed Burchall to get through before his shot was turned around the far post by Pierre Smith, the Village goalkeeper.

Village looked a new team at the start of the second half, creating some good chances as Korshun Durrant had a shot turned around for a corner by Corey Richardson in the Rangers goal.

Smith, the goalkeeper, then switched positions with Jason Lee at the start of the second half as Village’s attack looked more threatening. However, it was against the run of play that Rangers scored a second goal in the 65th minute. A move down the right involving defender Keedai Astwood and Seymour created a chance for Shaki Swan who drove a low shot in off the near upright. Village paid for not capitalising on their chances but it took them just four minutes to find the net with a well-taken goal by winger Kion Knights. Tyejae Burchall flighted in a cross from the left and the unmarked Knights lobbed a header under the crossbar.

Village piled on the pressure late on with Zamir Smith driving a long-range effort just over the top after a corner. Jai-zel Smith-DeShields had a good chance to level in the 79th when a ball forward opened the Rangers defence to send him through on a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but with shouts of “finish it” from the bench ringing in his ears the youngster lifted his shot wide of the near post as Richardson advanced.

Photograph by Akil SimmonsIsiah Taylor, of PHC, on the ball as a Colts defence challenges at Goose Gosling Field